Updates & miscellaneous musings!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saaaan! Fraaaaan! Cisco!

I wrote this slowly over the past week, but here's an account of my doings in the last week or so, most notably rocking out in San Francisco.

Last week me Angelo and some dude named Glen who's new to BSN went to Holy Cross Chruch (after which "Santa Cruz" is named) to film the priest talking about the Pope's death, for our story. Glen was a useful enough fellow, though he didn't say or do much. He kind of reminds me of Dante from SLO, who actually goes to school here now, but who's at College 10 and I ignore. Anyway.
The priest used to be a graphic designer and rock music critic in Bakersfield. Then he became a priest. I wanted to ask him about what happened between there, but it wasn't really relevant.

Today me and this other new guy Liam went to the Newman Catholic Center just off campus to interview more Papists--another priest, some dude who claimed the title of "Brother", and a senior from the university. I know it's not a fair statement to make overall, but Catholics seem more liberal and, frankly, normal than other hardcore Christians I've encountered. Hmm.

Then, White People Class, which has been pretty awkward and absurd. I had to argue with the teacher about the assertion that only white people can be racist, and then had to argue with the Token Conservative Guy (TCG) about how, while genetics determine physical features including skin color, the way that we use those traits to categorize races is a matter of cultural background, not fundamental genetic difference.

Me: I mean, a red-haired person and a blond-haired person are genetically different.
TCG: Are you absolutely sure of that?
Everyone: YES!

More on this class later.

On Thursday night I showed Hillary how to edit the story so she could do it while I was in SF. Then I went and hobnobbed with the SCTV (campus TV) people cause Frank didn't want to go, ate free Thai food and helped them design a masthead for their campaign to get more money from students.

Friday, after half-sleeping through Deep Space Nine, I gave some vague instructions to the other people in my group ("Try to sound newsy") and then went downtown to meet Angelo and Nikki to catch the bus to SAN FRANCISCO.
Well, the bus to San Jose, which connects to the bus to Freemont, which connects to the BART to San Francisco.

Aside from horrible rain which came and went randomly, there weren't any real problems getting there. We arrived in downtown SF at about 6, then decided to eat. I suggested we go to Chinatown cause I enjoyed hanging out there last time I was in SF. Unfortunately, this proved rather difficult to find, because we had no idea what we were doing. So we stumbled into a mediocre pizza place and ate millions.
The LCD screen on my digital camera got broken somehow. While the camera still works, I kind of lost interest in it as a soncsequcen, so there's no pictures for the post. Sorry.

I stayed with Lara, while Angelo and Nikki stayed with Nikki's friend Anna (). We met Lara at a terrible discount bookstore after eating, and then we all went to see "Sin City" at the Hideous Theater of Technology and the Future. The HToTaF costs $10/ticket and has movie posters that come to life, telling you to buy things that the movie theater doesn't in fact sell, but that someone told them you'd want. I wanted a cinnamon-apple pretzel, but it cost $5, and that's more than I'm willing to pay for a fucking pretzel.

"Sin City" was really amazing. On this week's BSN, Natalie's doing an editorial about how sexist the movie it is. And she's absolutely right. But, it seems to me, "Sin City" is a manifestation of pure id. It's a world that, while ostensibly like ours, is populated by people that could only exist in Frank Miller's head. Like with Wuthering Heights, it's a created world that the author so passionately believes in that, regardless of what's happening at any given moment, it's fascinating.

Angelo and Nikki had to leave 2/3 of the way through to make the BART to Berekely to meet Anna, so that sucked for them.

Then Lara and I went back to her dorm. They have a receptionist posted 24/7 (apparently), and if you're a guest you have to give them your ID for the duration of your stay in the building. I was told that I couldn't take a shower because it's an all-girl's dorm*, and I forgot to bring a sleeping bag, so I had to sleep on the floor, but Lara was a very good host, and gave me lots of tea and soda and food. She said she had to much money on her meal plan thing, so I was actually doing her a favor...or something.

When we got there, she made me cinnamon tea, and we watched "Garden State". It's a very nicely made and acted little movie, though I had trouble empathizing with the characters. She was stupid and whimsical and he was tortured and submissive, and, for all my qualities good or bad, I don't think any of that fits me. None of it seems particularly un-realistic (except maybe the guy living in the gulley), but I never really felt like it was real either. I enjoyed watching it, but I don't think it's as brilliant as some would suggest. Though I suppose that's subjective, and if you have a reading of the movie that explains what I'm missing and why I'm lame, I'm totally happy to hear it.**

The next day was the reason we came to SF when we did--The Alternative Press Expo.
The convention was free to Comic-Con attendees for some reason, so I didn't have to pay. It was very cool.
I got so sick of Comic-Con last time, and while APE would never attract a Neil Gaiman or Kevin Smith (and shouldn't), it was so much nicer.
Big enough to have lots to look at, but not big enough to be crowded and shitty. And since it's all small press, it's mostly cool comic creators (yes, and pretentious zine-making punks/anarchists/goofy folk)--no anime and Hollywood promos.

Right after coming in I ran into Keith Knight who does the comic strip The K Chronicles. I've seen him at about every convention I've ever been to, and he always remembers me, and he's so cool about it. We talked for like 10 minutes and it was really casual and pleasant--it didn't feel like talking to a (relatively) famous person...it was just like talking to an old acquaintance you haven't caught up with in awhile. Very neat.
I also got to meet Derek Kirk Kim, one of my favorite web cartoonists, who was much less lame than he implies in his work. He asked me where I went to school and then told me that he used to hang out in SC a lot, which explains some of the stuff in his comic--
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Lara bought a purse with a whale on it.

Angelo, Nikki, and Anna showed up, and Lara had to go, so it ended up being me and Angelo checking shit out, while Nikki and Anna did separately. We ran into a character designer from "Kim Possible", whom we made do a drawing for Angelo's sister, some other webcomics people I like and bought print stuff from, and a guy from Nikki's art class who was trying to look professional (I suppose he's pro enough for "alternative press", to be fair). He got snooty about how he uses Illustrator, not Flash, and then we ran into someone who does similar work to his only way better, and does use Flash. In conclusion, fuck that guy. But not in a bad way.

After all that, the four of us went to Chinatown (for real this time, and it was actually depressingly easy to find). Some old Chinese guy gave us a menu for the restaurant he worked for and then followed us for 10 minutes to make sure we actually went there (Anna insisted that we not, on principle).
We ended up at a little place that I chose because a) it was reasonably cheap and b) had vegetarian stuff and c) there were no other white people there.
So that was kinda nifty.

Then we went to Virgin Megastore so that I could meet Lara in an easily findable place that was still open at midnight. When we got back to her dorm she suggested we watch Amelie, but I didn't feel up for something that I felt really disserved my attention, so she put on a DVD of the Gilmore Girls and we watched about 3 of them. It's obviously not something I'd watch on purpose, but it's a lot better than most dramatic TV shows on now, so I don't object.

Got up at about noon and took the BART to Berkeley, which went better than expected. Met up with Angelo, Nikki, and Anna and had crepes. I'd never had crepes before, but I enjoyed it--it was basically just a quesadilla with thicker bread and apples in it, though yummier than that sounds.
Then...the trip back, which takes a lot longer than the distance justifies, but that's what you get when you take public transportation.
It was somewhat tedious, especially since one bus got us there late and we spent about 2 hours sitting in San Jose (which, incidentally, smells like poo. The entire town. Poo-smelling capital of the world). We all read every single comic that I bought on the way back.
Angelo spent the San Jose-SC trip talking to an old lady about jazz.

All around, it was a pretty cool experience, and I'd happily go again. Sadly, I'm pretty cleaned out financially from the trip, but I suppose it was worth it for the awesome.

*Though being greasy's somewhat appropriate for a Comic-Con.

**Geeky side note: The conversation with the nerdy guy who speaks Klingon was somewhat funny ("This one means Kill Kirk... And also, hallelujah... Depending on the context"), but, while I'm certainly not nerdy enough to speak Klingon, I'm nerdy enough to recognize Klingon.
It was created by a UC Santa Cruz graduate who's an expert on Native American and south Asian languages who, like Tolkein, created a complete artificial language, which I think is damn cool.
It would have taken minutes for the people making the movie to have found someone who actually speaks Klingon--or to get the book out of a bookstore--and find out how to say whatever they wanted.
If I were making a movie, that's exactly the sort of detail I'd be proud to get right.
They could have at least faked it better--as is, it just seems very condescending.


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Location: Oakland, CA, United States